Tyler Tettleton

Big fourth quarter carries East Carolina over Ohio in Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl

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East Carolina scored three touchdowns in the final 10 minutes of the game to blow open a tight contest and win the 2013 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl, 37-20, over Ohio in St. Petersburg on Monday.

It was ECU’s first bowl win since 2007 and gave the Pirates (10-3) just their second 10-win season in school history. Ohio finished up the season 7-6.

For a while, it looked like the Bobcats might pull off the mild upset. They led the Pirates, 20-17, early in the fourth quarter following Josiah Yazdani’s 28-yard field goal, then got the ball back on a perfectly-executed onsides kick.

But Yazdani missed a 45-yard field goal attempt — his first miss of the season after 14-straight makes — and then ECU asserted itself.

That meant giving the ball to Vintavious Cooper, who rushed for 74 of his career-high 198 yards in the final quarter, including touchdown runs of 22 and 31 to put the game out of reach.

Shane Carden threw for 273 yards and also rushed for 40 yards for the Pirates, who piled up 568 yards of offense (including 281 on the ground).

Tyler Tettleton threw for 228 yards and a touchdown for the Bobcats but he threw three interceptions, including two in the fourth quarter that killed any chance for an Ohio comeback.

The bowl win caps the best season for ECU since 1991, when the Pirates finished 11-1.

Sneak Peek: 2013 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl

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WHO: 7-5 Ohio (MAC) vs. 9-3 East Carolina (C-USA)

WHAT: Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl (6th year)

WHERE: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.

WHEN: Dec. 23 at 2 p.m. ET

WHY: The MAC and Conference USA meet up in a battle of two teams that seem to be headed in opposite directions.

East Carolina won five of its last six to close the season while Ohio lost three of its last four. The Pirates have a chance to get to 10 wins, which would be the second-best win total in their history. The Bobcats are looking for their third consecutive bowl win and fourth-straight eight-win season.

ECU has a prolific offense led by quarterback Shane Carden, who threw for 3,866 yards and 32 touchdowns while also adding 10 scores on the ground. His top target is Justin Hardy, who caught 105 passes for 1,218 yards and eight touchdowns. Ohio counters with gritty quarterback Tyler Tettleton, who owns 21 school records and is 103 yards shy of becoming Bobcats’ first 9,000-yard career passer. He threw for 2,623 yards and 20 touchdown passes this year.

Ohio is in this game only because the AAC couldn’t fill its allotted bowl slots. If not for close losses to Virginia Tech (15-10) and Tulane (36-33), ECU could be 11-2 and in a more prominent bowl. The Pirates have the clear advantage.

PREDICTION: East Carolina 42, Ohio 21

MAC East race taking center stage

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It is Tuesday night in November, so the MAC is here just for you. While Northern Illinois is still holding strong as the banner program of the MAC right now, vying for a second straight BCS bowl trip this January, the MAC East is getting a chance to show off its division race for the right to potentially dethrone Jordan Lynch and the Huskies.

Buffalo (6-2, 4-0 MAC) and Ohio (6-2, 3-1 MAC) are going toe-to-toe up in New York while Bowling Green (5-3, 3-1 MAC) is looking to take care of their business on the road against Miami Ohio (0-8, 0-4). Buffalo started Tuesday with the upper hand in the MAC East division and Ohio and Bowling Green are right behind the Bulls. Buffalo and Bowling Green play in the regular season finale on November 29 in a game that could end up deciding which teams advances to the MAC Championship Game in Detroit.

Buffalo’s defense has been the story of the first half in the big game tonight. The Bulls have held the Bobcats without a third down conversion at the half. Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton has thrown for just 54 yards. Buffalo running back Branden Oliver has the game’s only score, a powerful touchdown run early in the second quarter for a 7-0 lead. Buffalo leads 7-3 at the half..

Bowling Green is doing their part in the first half against lowly Miami Ohio, leading the RedHawks 24-3 at halftime. Matt Johnson has thrown two touchdowns in the first half and the Falcons defense has shut down Miami’s running game by allowing 23 yards on 15 rushing attempts. A win for Bowling Green will make the Falcons bowl eligible for the second straight season. Bowling Green has not been eligible for postseason play in consecutive years since 2003-2004.

There will be more MAC goodness Wednesday night, with Ball State (8-1, 5-0 MAC) hosting Central Michigan (3-5, 2-2 MAC) with a chance to keep pace with Northern Illinois in the division standings. Ball State will visit Northern Illinois next Wednesday as well.

Unitas Award releases preseason watch list

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What, you thought we were done with the watch list position of the offseason?

The latest to release its list of players to keep an eye on is the Unitas Award, given annually to the nation’s top quarterback.  A total of 30 players are included on this year’s watch list, including Ivy League member Cornell as the only non-FBS program represented.

A.J. McCarron, a finalist for the 2012 award won by Kansas State’s Collin Klein, headlines the list.  Ohio’s Tyler Tettleton was a semifinalist for last year’s award as well.

The SEC has six players on this year’s preseason list, followed by the ACC with five and the Mountain West with four.  The Big Ten, MAC and Pac-12 had three signal callers each.

Interestingly, just one FBS conference was not represented: the traditionally quarterback-rich Big 12.

Below is the complete list of players, courtesy of the Unitas Award Foundation:

2013 Unitas Award Watch List

Johnny Football headlines Walter Camp watch list

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As expected, the 2012 Heisman winner and one of the preseason frontrunners for the 2013 version of that trophy has somehow managed to find his way onto the watch list for one of the most prestigious awards in college football.

The Walter Camp Player of the Year Award announced Friday its 2013 preseason watch list, with Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel leading a field of 50 players included in the initial grouping.  Manziel is one of two finalists from last year’s award to be included on this year’s watch list, the other being USC wide receiver Marqise Lee.

Not so surprisingly, offensive players dominate the list, with 38 of the 50 coming from that side of the ball.  Quarterbacks accounted for 18 of the players named, followed by 14 running backs.

A total of seven 2012 Camp first-team All-Americans have been listed, including Lee, Manziel, Arizona running back Ka’Deem Carey, South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan and Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley.  Another six players who earned second-team Camp honors last year are included as well.

Last year’s winner was Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, the first defensive player to win the award since Michigan’s Charles Woodson in 1997.  Just one other defensive player (Pittsburgh Hugh Green, 1980) has claimed the honor since its inception in 1967.

As always, below is the complete set of players who make up the 2013 Walter Camp preseason watch list:

Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska
Antonio Andrews, RB, Western Kentucky
Dri Archer, RB, Kent State
Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
Kolton Browning, QB, Louisiana Monroe
Anthony Barr, LB, UCLA
Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona *
Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
Rakeem Cato, QB, Marshall
Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina *
Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
David Fluellen, RB, Toledo
Phillip Gaines, DB, Rice
Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
John Hubert, RB, Kansas State
Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Texas
Duke Johnson, RB, Miami Fla. #
Chuckie Keeton, QB, Utah State
Marqise Lee, WR, USC *
Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan *
Jordan Lynch, QB, Northern Illinois
Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M *
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M #
Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
Venric Mark, RB, Northwestern
Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska
AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama
Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State
C.J. Mosley, LB, Alabama *
Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
Louis Nix III, DE, Notre Dame
Casey Pachall, QB, TCU
Keith Price, QB, Washington
Silas Redd, RB, USC
Bradley Roby, DB, Ohio State #
Tyler Russell, QB, Mississippi State
Bishop Sankey, RB, Washington
Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
Yawin Smallwood, LB, Connecticut
Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State #
Tyler Tettleton, QB, Ohio
De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame #
Kyle Van Noy, LB, BYU
Jason Verrett, DB, TCU #
Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
T.J. Yeldon, RB, Alabama